Last night, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle told Brian Fuentes that he would temporarily be replaced as Colorado’s closer after blowing four consecutive saves. Don’t go pressing the panic button yet; Fuentes should be back collecting saves within a week or two. Until then, I’d have to think Manny Corpas will be pitching the ninth inning, although Jorge Julio and — though somewhat less likely — LaTroy Hawkins and Jeremy Affeldt could step in as well.
Corpas has pretty good peripherals: 6.53 K/9 | 3.15 BB/9 | 2.07 K/BB | 60% GB. We’d like to see the K/BB higher, but the ground ball rate makes up for it a bit. I suspect Fuentes will resume closing after the All-Star break, but until then Corpas should be owned in all leagues. He could pick up a couple of saves between now and then.
Julio has only given up 3 runs in 15.1 innings for Colorado, so Hurdle could elect to go with him. His peripherals have been poor, though, as he’s only been striking out 7 batters per 9 and is walking over 4. If he closes, he might be able to pick up saves and would be worth owning, but be aware that he could just as easily blow a few saves.
I’d pick up Corpas and hope Hurdle realizes that he is the better pitcher. If not, there will probably only be a replacement closer for a week or so, anyway, so it’s not a huge deal. At least you won’t have to worry about Julio imploding while on your team. Another quick note is that the Rockies could look to trade Fuentes as the trade deadline nears. If traded, I’d again think Corpas is the favorite to close the remainder of the year. Watch the situation.